Biogas in Viet Nam – ”All good… bad!”

October 22nd, 2013

On a recent trip to Viet Nam I had the chance to visit the house of Mrs Le Thoa, about half an hour from the capital city, Hanoi.  She had had a household biogas digester installed in about 2001 by a micro-enterprise trained by two local Vietnamese NGOs, CCRD and VACVINA as her family are small-holder arable and livestock farmers.


Cooking with biogas

As well as growing rice and vegetables her family keep between 8-10 pigs within their living compound.  Her neighbours used to complain about the terrible smell of the dung the pigs produced.  Previously she had no way to dispose of it and it quickly festered in the hot sun.  The dung attracted a lot of flies and her pigs would often get sick.  Fortunately, pig dung is highly suitable for feeding a typical biogas system.

The system cost Mrs Le Thoa about £300, as she was able to take advantage of a 30% “early bird” marketing promotion offered by the micro-entrepreneur.

Since she installed the system, she says it’s transformed her family’s life.  Her pigs are much healthier and she’s much more popular with her neighbours as the smell is greatly reduced.  In addition the flies are almost all gone so her home is a much more pleasant place.


Health and financial benefits

The biogas system produces enough clean burning gas to completely replace the smoky and unhealthy wood and coal they used to use.  Sometimes it produces excess which she uses to prepare rice wine for local community celebrations, such as weddings.

As the biogas is produced every day with no cost she saves about £6 per month on her cooking fuel bills.  In the 12 years the system’s been operating it has not needed to be repaired or maintained even once, and only takes about 15 minutes to deal with the pig’s dung, which is washed into the biogas reservoir beneath the pigsty once a day.

All-in-all she says “the biogas system is very good for me.  There is nothing bad about it.  No bad!”

After having visited her home, her spotless healthy looking pigs, and clean and smoke free kitchen on which her son made us fresh green tea, I could certainly see no reason to disagree!

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